Updated: Nov 6, 2019
Chapter Three: From the Inside Out
With Sydney Banks’ discovery of the Three Principles, it was revealed that thought is a gift that human beings possess to create subjective, momentary images and words in their minds. Prior to this discovery, thought was seen as only one of many inputs into the formulation of people’s experience rather than the exclusive source.
Yes, that’s right. We are only ever experiencing the feeling of our thinking, and nothing more. This is often called the inside-out understanding. The understanding that the external world is neutral, and we are only ever experiencing our thinking about an external circumstance.
This is contrary to how we were raised and what our culture at large believes. We are living in an outside-in mentality. Where our jobs stress us out, our partners make us angry, and having a lot of money brings us happiness. Through this discovery, we now know that is just not true.
Everything that we can perceive in our experience is either made of form or of the formless, solid or invisible. Form is everything we feel, touch, and see with our senses. Rocks and trees, our house, car, and body. Our double shot cappuccino with almond milk. As human beings, we have really mastered the world of form. We’ve developed all types of sciences to explain how form works -- from biology to astronomy to geology to engineering and so on. When something is broken, we can usually figure out how to fix it. We build, construct, reconstruct and master our world of form.
The form-less is intangible. The formless includes all that we cannot see, but somehow we can still perceive is there through our consciousness. This includes energy and spirit, as well as, our thoughts and emotions.
We are not really taught how the field of the formless works. Out of blissful ignorance we assume that the formless realm operates like the realm of form. But it doesn’t. The world of formless, especially thought and feeling, are transient and flowing. If there is a feeling or thought you don’t like, it doesn’t work to “fix” the feeling. The only option is to feel it and wait for it to move on its merry way.
It’s like an apple. Apples are meant to be eaten. When they are not eaten, they rot.
Feelings are meant to be felt, when they are not felt, they fester and get stuck.
In our society, we have mostly been taught that thought and feeling are two distinct entities. There is thinking, which involves planning, remembering, organizing, and rehearsing imaginary conversations with people. Maybe that last one is just me? Distinct from feeling. Feelings, or emotions, describe our mood-- happy, sad, horny, absurd, manic, frenzied. Whole fields of study and countless books have been written about the range and nuances of our emotions.
What if emotions are actually just thoughts with different feelings associated with them?
Just as you can touch the table and notice it has the feel of a table, or you touch your arm and it feels like an arm. We can say that this thought has the feeling of sadness, or this thought has the feeling of anxiety.
For example, I notice the external circumstance of being physically alone. I may think, I’m tired of being alone. Then, suddenly I begin to experience the feeling of loneliness.
External circumstance = Emotion.
We skip right over the thought and blame the external circumstance for causing the feeling.
However, there is an invisible middle man in between the external circumstance and our felt experience. And that is thought.
External Circumstance + Thought about external circumstance = Emotion.
For example, Physically alone + the thought of I’m tired of being alone = Loneliness
When we look closer, we see that this thought has the feeling of loneliness to it. More often than not, there isn’t enough space in between the thought and the feeling, and we miss the connection. As we grow our awareness, we begin to see, oh, I created that feeling by my thought, not by the external circumstance of being physically alone.
Thought and emotion are not distinct from each other. They are more like two sides of the same coin. This thought has the feeling of loneliness, so I feel alone. This thought has the feeling of despair, so I feel desperate.
The key is to grow our awareness, or consciousness, of our thinking. Often we are just walking around in our heads living inside the feeling of our thoughts all day. We are a victim of our thoughts but we think we are a victim of our circumstances.